We share a love-hate relationship with bureaucracy. The benefits and tools we gain from government agencies are extensive; Youth Allowance, ABN and incorporation are but a few examples. And yet the process for some can be painful. It was once said that ‘bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible’. Trademarking is no exception.
You may have decided that it is time to trademark your ‘sign’. You have done some research about why you should trademark whether for the sake of marketing or to legally protect your brand. You have come to the conclusion that it is appropriate for your business’ development. What you may not realise is that at the minimum, if everything is done to a t, registering your trademark will take 7.5months.
There are 4 stages to the registration process.
Step 1: Prepare and file your application (variable)
You will need to conduct a thorough search to ensure that there are no other conflicting trademarks that are already registered. The process also includes determining the classes that your business falls under. The search can be tedious given the complex government search engine ATMOSS.
You will also have to complete the paperwork for the formal trademark application.
Step 2: Government examination (3-4 months)
The trademark office will check that your application complies with the Trademark Act 1995 (Cth). In particular, it will assess whether there are any conflicting trademarks.
You will either receive an ‘adverse report’ (go to step 3) or a ‘notice of acceptance’ (go to step 4).
Step 3: Period of amendment (variable)
You may need to conduct a new search or vary your application. This may add a significant chunk of time especially if it comes at busy time.
Go to step 2. You may have to repeat the process more than once if you do not rectify your application appropriately.
Step 4: Open to opposition (2 months)
Your trademark is advertised in the Official Journals of Trademarks. Opposing parties have 2 months to file a notice of intention to oppose the registration of your trademark.
Regardless of whether you have completed your registration process in the minimum 6 months, your trademark will only be fully registered at 7.5 months from the date of application.
Make it faster!
Given that for step 2 and 4, the ball is in the government’s court, the only steps that you can accelerate are step 1 and 3. In fact, the speed of your application relies in effect solely on step 1: the application. To prepare and complete strong application is to fast forward from step 2 to 4.
Understanding more about the trademark process including the trademark process, classes and ATMOS will help you prepare your application. Given the convoluted nature of the search engine, you may like to read a how to use ATMOS guide.
If time is money then perhaps you may like to consider consulting with a trademark attorney. They can help you review your application in more depth. Lawpath offers a trademark package which includes a preliminary simplified search for conflicting trademarks and a review by one of our trademark attorneys. This allows you to expediate steps 2-4 by ensuring your application is solid and void of mistakes.
Unsure where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800LAWPATH to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from our network of 600+ expert lawyers or to get answers to your legal questions.